A young woman who gave a negative review on a leased apartment with friends, was ordered to pay €200 in moral damages to the apartment company after a judge concluded that it left a negative impact on the company’s business.
Euro Resort Investments Ltd filed a case before the Magistrates Court against Madeleine Bonnici requesting compensation after the latter gave a bad review in connection with the leasing of an apartment.
Evidence during the case showed that the company had kept €87 from a deposit of €120 after it held Bonnici responsible for the damage the company found in the apartment. Bonnici denied the claim and warned the company she will give it a bad review.
On booking.com site she gave the apartment a 2.5 score from 10 for each of the five categories on which the apartment could be judged. She also wrote “worst host ever with bad manners”, adding that nothing pleased her and totally annoyed her.
The company filed the case, saying that through this negative review the apartment was not listed anymore in the front page of this site.
The Magistrate Court denied the company’s request by concluding that the score given by the young woman to the apartment was not libellous.
Following an appeal, Mr Justice Lawrence Mintoff said that evidence showed that the woman threatened the company with revenge by giving negative reviews because she was not refunded the money. Although the apartment disappeared from the booking.com site, the Court said that it continued to be leased regularly on other electronic portals and during 2019 it was almost always occupied.
Mr Justice Mintoff added that he is not convinced that the apartment deserved the worst rating when the only complaint was on a geyser leakage, saying that it is not acceptable that an unsatisfied client reacts in this way on a bad experience.
The judge therefore cancelled the Magistrate Court’s sentence and ordered Bonnici to pay €200 to the company as moral damages for her review.